On my journey through London today on my way to Switzerland I emerged briefly into the sunlight outside Kings Cross station. With a fresh wind and clouds scudding across the blue sky I paused a moment to enjoy and as I did I marvelled once again at the neighbouring St Pancras station building. It is literally a fantastic building, with its fantasy turrets and huge presence, it really is like some Gothic castle. And as I reflected on this fantasy style I remembered I once heard that the root of its name, St Pancras, is supposedly a reference to an ancient temple or sacred grove perhaps to Pan, the ancient god who represented the force of Nature. Pan in turn is often connected to chaos and wildness, hence our modern word “panic”) and is seen as the antithesis of order. This building certainly has elements that seem to have been inspired by something beyond the ordinary.
No time to stop I descended underground once again to catch the train that would take me on to Gatwick airport. As I boarded I found the best seat available to me was opposite a lady with a large dog at her feet. It was beautiful to admire: a very full coat of wispy golden hair, an intelligent face and a gentle demeanour. I was so taken with the dog it took me a while to realise that there was another animal present. A strange rabbit-like creature had hopped out from behind the lady’s head and come on to her shoulder. It was a chinchilla. Whiskers twitching as it looked this way and that. Other people too in the carriage had spotted it and were pointing and smiling at this unexpected creature.
Talking with the lady she told me that the chinchilla was the boss. Much smaller than the dog it was nevertheless older. When the dog had first arrived the chinchilla hid for two whole days behind the sofa, but then, with nothing else for it, it emerged and charged straight towards the dog. The dog surrendered immediately, turned tail and ran away. It struck me it must have been some inner process that led to such an extreme action by the chinchilla.
A little later
Talking with Rosa in the car I asked her about her experience of teaching the Aura-Soma PPS (Personal Presentation Skills) course. It is on my mind as I will be teaching one in Colombia next month. She came to tell me that the thing she valued most in the course was the exercise of finding the gifts in others, that this looking for gifts in your fellow students creates a refreshingly, positive mindset in the group. As she was had been talking we had reached an automatic pay gate on the motorway as she was telling me this, and, as we went to drive away the automatic kiosk emitted a robotic “Thank you and Goodbye” message. Without a second thought Rosa replied in a cheery voice back to the machine, “Thank you and goodbye” too.
Impressive I thought, just thinking about the PPS course can help one appreciate others even to the extent of talking back kindly to robots!
Actually I was not thinking these two stories are connected but now I write them down there is something I notice. It reminds me of an insight I once had with Djwal Khul. Consciousness is. It is a miracle that it should exist at all. As conscious beings we share it with the world around us whenever we interact with it. Whether that is with a dog or a chinchilla, and perhaps even with a machine. Will machines ever become self consciousness? Is Pan the consciousness of life force in Nature? Where is the “I” in me anyway?
Powers of 10
Powers of Ten is a short film made many years ago, that takes the viewer on a 9 minute journey from a picnic scene by a lake out to the very edge of the universe by jumping in factors of 10: 10 m, 100m, 1000m 10km, 100km, 1000km etc - it speeds up a lot towards the end. Then the viewer is brought back all the way to the picnic scene but, not stopping, it continues through the skin of one of the people, and soon by factors of 10 reducing, it comes all the way to the inner world of a carbon atom, at which there is just a vibrating nucleus with electrons.
I remember when I saw this a question forcefully hit me: if that is all there is at this deepest level of physical reality – a reality that is everywhere like that (complexity of form only appears at higher levels) then where could the “I” be in that? Does the carbon atom say “This is me”? It doesn't seem possible, and yet, if it doesn’t, then at what point does the “I” appear? The film must have zoomed though the level at which the I resides … but at what level was it? What exactly is consciousness? What exactly is the basis of the I?
You can see the film on Youtube here